Business in Vegas Still Glum, Dan Bilzerian to Be the Face of an Online Casino

August 14, 2020
Mark Patrickson

The gambling industry in Las Vegas is still working through a trying period. The COVID-19 situation isn’t showing any signs of improvement with the city struggling without tourism.

The Las Vegas Sun reported that four Station casinos might stay shut permanently. Frank Fertitta III, CEO and chairman of Red Rock Resorts, the parent company of Station Casinos, said that he does know when, or if, they will reopen at all.

“We don’t know if or when we’re going to reopen any of the closed properties. We think it’s too early to make that decision.”

When state governor Steve Sisolak allowed casinos to reopen on June 4th only 16 out of their 20 properties did so. The other four were not expecting anything close to the amount of business to justify the operating costs.

All four closed casinos are away from The Strip and normally cater to local residents rather than tourists. This is a worrying sign because it indicates there is a fear to get out and about during the pandemic.

The Vital Vegas blog is facing legal action over starting a rumour that the Sahara Casino would close its doors permanently.

The Sahara Las Vegas filed a lawsuit claiming defamation over the blog post, asking for $15,000 in damages. They say that staff and reservation holders suffered unnecessary stress when hearing about the news.

Blog founder Scott Roeben said it isn’t defamation when it is obviously true.

“How is it defamation to say that a casino that’s in trouble is in trouble? It’s an observation that any lay person can make walking into the casino, that there are no customers. From what I know, it was a horrible situation before COVID-19 and COVID has accelerated that.”

It’s also a grim situation for Wynn Resorts. Posting a Q2 loss of $637.6 million makes for grim reading as their resort in the gambling paradise of Macau is also struggling much the same.

CEO Matt Maddox is pinning his hopes on fast, accurate testing that can be done for small groups. This will allow for the convention side of the industry to reopen and prop up the whole business.

One outlier in all of this is the Ohio region. Ohio casinos posted record profits for the state’s four casinos totaling $86 million.

Jessica Franks, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, thinks this strange situation might have been caused by Detroit’s remaining closed until very recently. Despite what is happening with the four closed Station Casinos, it looks like casinos that don’t rely on tourists will be doing better in the near future.

MGM is losing money like all the other Las vegas giants but it hasn’t stopped them from attracting a ten-figure investment.

InterActive Corp announced on Monday that it purchased a 12% stake, worth close to $1 billion. They see the future potential in the online market as being well worth their money.

American billionaire Barry Diller owns IACand told shareholders:

“MGM presented a ‘once in a decade’ opportunity for IAC to own a meaningful piece of a preeminent brand in a large category with great potential to move online,”

Asia Pullback

Japanese and singorean investors are holding off on their planned developments. The pandemic has caused economic turmoil in the region giving cause to a more wait-and-see approach.

Both Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts are both putting their plans for expansion into the region on ice until the situation changes.

Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp, said:

“These delays are principally related to the impact of the pandemic, and we will provide additional updates in the future as conditions are continuing to evolve,”

UK Casinos Reopen

British casinos have finally reopened but is it too late?

Michael Dugher, head of the British Betting and Gaming Council, recently said as many as 6,000 jobs were at risk with the extended closures.

“The government is swinging a wrecking ball right through the middle of our industry and large-scale job losses, which ought to be unnecessary and avoidable, now look inevitable,”

Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson being told casinos were of negligible risk he decided to extend the closures for an extra fortnight.

Now the businesses are starting to reopen, execs are saying job losses are simply unavoidable.

Dan Bilzerian to Be the Face of BlitzBet

India-facing gaming brand BlitzBet is to use Dan Bilzerian as their public figure. I3 Interactive will buy shares from a corporation in Canada which owns 65% of an Indian poker website.

The website, and we don’t know which one it is yet, will be rebranded as BlitzPoker offering hold’em and PLO to players of all levels.

We wonder if Blizerian will be playing on the platform himself given that he claims to have made his fortune from high stakes NL. We also hope that this venture goes better than the failure of his party brand which lost over $50 million in a single year!

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